I mentioned in my last post that I had received an invitation to visit L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal and take photographs from some restricted areas. Today I’m happy to share some of the images I was able to capture.
From the 10th to the 19th March the Oratory welcomes large numbers of visitors to celebrate Novena and Feast of Saint Joseph and is in fact the busiest time of year for the Oratory. Tuesday was the last day of the Novena but with the heavy snow the crowds were a little lighter than expected, but was still busy despite the late blast of winter making travel not that easy.
My invitation to visit came about due to contact being made following my post last February when the Oratory contacted me to acquire the rights to a few of my images – one of which I was very happy to see used on the Novena order of service.
Prior to meeting up with my contact Samuel, I grabbed a few external pictures of the Oratory that was just visible through the heavy snow.
The first stop on my special tour was the Votive Chapel. The chapel was constructed between 1946 to 1949 as an annex to the Crypt church due to the need for more space to display the crutches and canes left behind by the sick who had been healed. The Votive Chapel contains over 10,000 vigil lamps, which I was later to find give off a lot of heat.
We headed through a side door and up some steps that led to a narrow passage running behind the chapel walls. The wall is divided in places with small openings where vigil lamps are placed and provided a view back to inside the Votive Chapel – a really special view and I was eager to get shooting.
In nearly all the Votive Chapel pictures, I had decided to shoot relatively long exposures – in an attempt to capture the movement of people below. Since I couldn’t use a tripod due to the space limitations, I ended up holding the camera against the grid structure next to the candles, which I discovered was a great way to remove hair from the back of your hands as well 😉
This next picture is not the best quality, but I wanted to share as it shows the grids that I was shooting through.
We also managed to access the area behind the statue of Saint Joseph…
After leaving the Voltive Chapel we headed up the escalators to the Basilica and entered the organ balcony. It was good timing as afternoon mass was in progress and the balcony provided a great vantage point.
It goes without saying that the highlight of being in the organ balcony was getting a closeup view of the famous Beckerath organ – considered one of the world’s top 10 outstanding organs.
The organ was constructed in Hamburg, Germany between the years 1958 and 1959 and installed in the Oratory in 1960. Since there was a Mass in progress the organist was present and was a treat watching him play this amazing instrument.
After visiting the organ balcony we descended to the main floor of the Basilica and made our way to the rear of the altar. With Mass still in progress I refrained taking too many shots but couldn’t resist taking one or 2 😉
My visit finished up at one of the chapels at the side of the main Basilica…unfortunately I forget the name of this particular chapel. It was a shame it was still a bit overcast outside as I imagine the sunlight coming through the windows would really make this small chapel glow.
I’m very thankful to Samuel and the team at L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal for giving me this opportunity to view Canada’s largest church from vantage points generally only seen by employees. Being such a vast building, there is so much to see (and shoot) I will certainly be returning, particularly since I have still not photographed the Crypt church.
To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.